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Linux Business Operating Systems Linux

German Company To Install Linux On 10,000 PCs 328

jfruhlinger writes "Linux proponents used to proclaim that the era of Linux on the desktop was just around the corner. That may never come to pass, but there are still occasional wins. For instance, a German insurance giant will be moving 10,000 employees to Linux-based desktop and laptop machines."
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German Company To Install Linux On 10,000 PCs

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  • Re:Adaption... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 24, 2011 @02:50AM (#35919414)

    the 2nd paragraph of TFA:

    The project included the conversion of 3,000 desktop and laptop computers in LVM's Muenster HQ with a further 7,000 in the company's agencies around Germany. The core software used by the company is LAS, a Java-based claims-processing application of its own design, backed by Lotus Notes, Adobe's Reader and the OpenOffice suite.

  • by silanea ( 1241518 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @03:28AM (#35919510)
    That was a political decision, not a technical one. It came promptly after the Ministry went to a FDP member (that is the "Liberal" party here, essentially the sock puppet of every industry lobby in the country) and is currently the subject of several parliamentary enquiries. An analysis of the Government's official response can be found here [henning-tillmann.de] (sorry, German only).
  • Re:Adoption... (Score:4, Informative)

    by rgbatduke ( 1231380 ) <rgb.phy@duke@edu> on Sunday April 24, 2011 @05:13AM (#35919752) Homepage
    People will indeed. But Ubuntu forums are free, and viruses alone are a major fraction of all problems encountered by "people". I know Windows Defenders (tm) will allege that Windows isn't intrinsically insecure or unstable, but historically, Windows is insecure and unstable. So much for the people -- in the corporate environment the real issue is scalability. Linux is enormously, absurdly, cheaply, scalable in a sensibly run enterprise environment. Standardize on a reasonably small set of hardware platforms, and things like kickstart and yum make it possible for one sysadmin to support far, far more people than one sysadmin can support in any Windows environment I've ever heard of. Automated installation is easy, automated upgrade is easy, security is easy and effective (because the Unix-derived client-server networking model has always been reasonably secure) viruses are all but unknown and with standard root vs user privilege control ordinary users can't really infect their systems with viruses that matter.

    Linux has two or three problems. One is hardware support. In a wide-open home/laptop/desktop environment, it is difficult to guarantee that any particular piece of hardware is going to run, or at least be easy to get to run, under linux. But there is a more than spanning set of hardware to choose from that does run, and run well, and a skilled systems person can usually get almost all of the rest to work (eventually) with some effort. In a corporate environment, all this really means is that you should shop carefully for systems, something that you should do anyway even with Windows, and test prototypes to make sure that they will install and run well.

    Another is marketing -- Microsoft has an enormous staff of people devoted to promoting their product, cutting deals that maintain their lock on various markets, advertising on television and in other media, and sowing FUD about any and all competing products. I can't find online statistics on this, but I'll bet that Microsoft has at least two marketing/business people for every software engineer or technical support person. Linux has virtually none.

    The third is software. Like it or not, there is plenty of software in the Universe that only runs on Windows platforms. Not Linux, not Macs. Just Windows. There is far more software that runs on Linux (often only on Linux) these days -- there are literally tens of thousands of programs and libraries available, nearly all of them free, most of them of remarkably high quality. However, most corporate software, game software, and commercial software is written for Windows (or written by Apple for Apples on a proprietary basis). The reason here is obvious as well -- you make a lot more money with a proprietary package written for the most common operating system, especially when there is relatively little free software available for that system. If you try to write proprietary software for Linux systems, you face user resistance (everything else they use is free, why should they pay for your application?), you have to watch encumbrances such as GPL viral code or libraries, you risk being functionally cloned by your users in short order, and the "brilliant idea" underlying your application may well already be written and working fine under Linux, given its vast already existing library of free software.

    If your business doesn't need proprietary packages -- just e.g. straight up office software, browsers, web servers, databases, and not this or that specific accounting package or word processor, then enterprise level Linux will save you a fortune. Even if you do, it is probably cheaper and simpler to still run enterprise level Linux everywhere and confine Windows to VMs only on those desktops that need it.

  • by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @06:05AM (#35919896)

    See http://www.muenchen.de/limux [muenchen.de]

    and http://www.muenchen.de/Rathaus/dir/presseservice/2011/Pressemitteilungen/481205/fsfe_preis.html [muenchen.de]

    In Google translation

    excellent project LiMux - Document Freedom Day

    (03/30/2011) For its commitment to open standards and free software is replaced by the city of Munich as part of the global campaign "Document Freedom Day" by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), an award that was contrary to Munich's mayor Christine Strobl IT now . "The city of Munich shows a model that can reach a large German Government on Free Software. With the project LiMux Munich is in the use of open standards is a pioneer in Germany and in Europe. We hope that this modern and open attitude by many imitators, "pointed Karsten Gerloff, president of FSFE, emphasized at a small ceremony in Munich's town hall, attended by the municipal IT managers Gertraud Loesewitz, head of IT, Karl -Heinz Schneider, LiMux project leader Peter Hofmann, staff of the LiMux project teams, departments and representatives of the Open Source community took part in Munich. "Munich is a citizen-driven, flexible and open city. This is also reflected in the use of open standards and free software. With the use of open source software, we also strengthen the economy in Munich, by giving the many Munich-based IT service providers the opportunity to participate in the development "explained Mayor Strobl Munich motivation for LiMux.

    "LiMux" is presently the largest Linux project in the public sector. With it, the state capital Munich to 2013 about 80 percent of its 15 000 PC workstations on the free operating system Linux. All PC workstations are already equipped since 2009 with an open communication office (OpenOffice.org, Thunderbird, Firefox) and almost 6,000 computers have been converted to the Munich-based Linux operating system. The state capital also has the single document template system, developed WollMux 'which is as free software under the European Union Public License (EUPL) published and other users for free as an open standard available (www.wollmux.org).

    I would still call that a success, even if they were initially naïve in some respects.

  • by trevelyon ( 892253 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @06:08AM (#35919904)
    Yep, this is really about this sort of change exposing all the very poor IT decisions done before. A migration to Linux shows many of these problems but even migrations to the next version of Windows often brings a lot of them to light. Companies seem to have a never-ending ability for short-sightedness. Look at all the places that did their entire websites in Flash or coded for IE6 not to mention Small/Medium business's prolific use of Quickbooks.

    US Banks (in the USA) a few years back required MS-Java in order to use their website. When MS settled with Sun and pulled MS-Java there was no easy way to get MS-java (had to hunt around for hours for a client to find and install of an old version that worked) so new online banking customers could not access the site. This lasted about 6 months as I recall until their new online banking site was done. I'm sure that decision cost them a good bit of coin and annoyed / chased off several new customers. This is pretty much par for the course for many large companies.

    Even now most firms talk about following standards but ditch that idea for cost or aesthetics or implement the purchase (and acceptance) procedure so poorly that don't actually get standards compliance in the end. This of course is not helped by things like ISO treating OOXML as a standard. Now more than ever companies need good IT people to plan for tomorrow, I just wish there were more of them. It often baffles me that the corporate world even functions what with the mass of solutions held together with chewing gum and bailing wire.

Real computer scientists like having a computer on their desk, else how could they read their mail?